Portable Projector Mini PC Itsy-bitsy Boxlight Projector The editors' favorite innovations to help you do your job better - or at least have fun trying
Weighing only 4.8 lbs. and beaming an impressive 1000 ANSI lumens, Boxlight Corporation's XD-9m multimedia projector squeezes a lot of brightness into a laptop-sized unit that makes use of digital light processing (DLP) technology. For a little perspective, consider one of Boxlight's first DLP products, a multimedia projector that weighed 23 lbs., projected a 15-foot-wide image up to 50 feet, and cost $6,495 in 1996 (compared to $5,499 for the XD-9m).
The XD-9m fits in a case that measures about the size of a thick magazine (8.75 inches by 2.5 inches by 9.75 inches). A soft carry bag and standard connection cables are included. It has some nice standard features: It's compatible with 1080i HDTV format, and it can instantly identify a computer's video signal and set up the picture automatically. At the touch of a button, presenters can switch between computer images and videos without interrupting the pace of their presentation. The onboard DVI connector provides digital/analog connectivity, and the device comes with one-touch focus, zoom, and height adjustments.
Boxlight offers free lifetime 24-hour technical support and a 60-day upgrade policy to ensure that the product fits the customer's needs. It also offers help with everything from content development to the finishing touches. And the company's training division teaches how to make PowerPoint presentations and enliven technical speaking engagements.
To learn more, go to www.boxlight.com.
A Bear of a Handheld PC Goldilocks would just love the NEC MobilePro 780 handheld computer. Smaller than a laptop, bigger than a PalmPilot, it has a 90 percent scale keyboard you can actually type on and an 8 inch (diagonal measure) half-size screen that comes with a scrolling wheel. Better still, it has a touch screen rather than a touchpad, which, along with the usable keyboard, is an unusual combination in this class of computer devices.
Just over an inch thick and weighing less than 2 pounds, the 780 really can be thrown into your carry-on bag. Because it comes with wireless networking cards from Proxim and Aironet, it can hook into a convention center's LAN without too much fuss. It has pretty good standard connectivity capabilities, too, including an integrated 56Kbps 2 V.90 modem for e-mail and Internet.
It can run (but not alter) PowerPoint presentations, which can be connected to a large monitor or projector via an SVGA port (sorry, no USB port on the 780, at least not at this writing).The 780 comes with a 168 megahertz NEC processor, the fastest for this size machine, and 32 megs of RAM.
On the down side, the Windows CE operating system limits the functionality of programs like PowerPoint. But it really is about as portable as you can get without going to a palmtop, and the price is definitely right. Visit www.nec.com.
Picture This If you're booking a property a year in advance, it may not be enough to have a paragraph in theabout the venue's physical condition. In fact, an event or meetings manager might want to have all kinds of visual records, such as the appearance of a ballroom set up for a special event, or maybe of the quality of a manager's presentation before a customer group.
A simple way to keep visual records would be to use a video camera. The solution may be simple, but implementation is another matter. Who wants to lug around another piece of equipment? On the other hand, so-called pocket-cams have great portability, but the images are so-so at best.
JVC's GR-DVL805 Digital DualCam mini-digitial video camera strikes a balance between portability and quality. In fact, the camera's effects and self-contained editing capabilities make it suitable even for documentary-quality work that can be re-purposed for Web streaming. It works either as a still camera or as a motion camera.
The camera has a couple of nifty features not found on some larger machines. One of these is a serial connection wire so you can upload images directly into a PC instead of needing an image-capture card. If purchased separately, the serial connection and accompanying software would set you back more than $100.
Another nice feature is the high-quality 3.5-inch square LCD monitor, better than most consumer cameras, that lets you see what you have captured. It's helpful especially when editing.
The DVL805 DualCam also is "firewire" compliant, meaning you can make direct high-speed digital transfers from the camera to a computer.
The only quibble with the device is that you can't change special effects on the fly. The basic package, which includes a built-in light, a battery pack, an AC transformer, a universal remote for controlling many different brands of VCRs, and a whole slew of editing software, has a list price of about $1,200.
For more information, visit www.jvcamerica.com.
OK, so you knew when you took the job that you'd spend a zillion hours on the road, but you find yourself pining for home and hearth more than you expected. With X-10's XRay Vision Video Camera Kit (just $129), you can keep tabs on your home, your family, your pets, and anybody who visits them. The kit includes a tiny wireless color camera that can be set up to take snapshots at specified intervals and automatically post them to a password-protected Web page that the company hosts for you. The camera also can e-mail pictures to your PC. You just dial in, and the Xray Vision software will recognize your distinctive ring (which you specify) and then dial into your Internet Service Provider and start taking pictures. You can even change the camera settings remotely.
For more on this product, visit www.x10.com.